On a recent visit to Australia, Canterbury Rotarians Alan and Dee Mepstead were privileged to be invited to the Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay’s Annual Christmas dinner and tenth birthday celebration.
Here is Alan's account of the visit.
Chartered on 19th December 2008 with the aim of doing things a little differently, the Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay in District 9455 was the first “cocktail club” in Western Australia.
Their meetings are held after work in Perth’s western suburbs, and last no more than one hour. Rather than having a meal with meetings, they offer light refreshments prior to the meeting, keeping the cost of attendance down to as little as $5 per meeting.
They have maintained a fairly even 50/50 split of male/female members since the beginning, with their first two Presidents being female.
Members range in age from the early 20s to early 80s, and they encourage both partners in a couple to join if eligible.
They take pride in being a very active club – the number of different local and overseas projects they have on the go and that they have completed speaks for itself. They have been awarded a Significant Achievement Award for their Microscopes in Schools Project, two members have Service Above Self Awards, most years since chartering they have had been awarded the Best Metropolitan Club Bulletin in the district award, and they have also received awards for Membership, Best Article in Rotary Down Under magazine, and Best Indigenous Project in the District.
The Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay has a wide variety of projects on the go locally and overseas. Here is a selection of those projects:
Current and Ongoing Projects
- Kids Right2See project.
- English as a Second Language books to low socio-economic schools.
- FFEET (Food, Feet, Ears, Eyes and Teeth) project for neglect in the elderly.
- Dental Hygiene project in low socio-economic schools.
- Donated funds for blankets for Aboriginals in remote communities.
- Assisting with the publication of Shannon Lovelady’s work on the Gallipoli Remembered.
- Support the General Fund of the Rotary Foundation.
- Support Interplast Australia.
- Assisting the Burundi Peace Choir to make a CD and website, giving them a leg up rather than a hand out.
- Sponsored two country teachers to attend a ‘Play Workshop’ at Moerlina School.
- Provided funding towards school garden at Moerlina School.
- Benefit Concert to raise funds to assist a Tenor and a Soprano with costs associated with their relocation to New York to study voice at Mannes School.
- Provided assistance to a student in necessitous circumstances at North Cottesloe Primary School.
- Supported the Claremont Christmas Carnival.
- Provided funds to assist a MS sufferer and a Quadriplegic Youth.
- Carried out a needs survey for Access Housing and invited residents to a BBQ in a park.
- Donated a metal cutting machine to the Dreamfit Foundation in Shenton Park.
- Supported the Community Development’s Passport project.
- Provided ESL books to Primary Schools and families of Refugees.
- Raised $640 for the Victorian Bushfire appeal.
- Knitted toys, jumpers and rugs sent to Wiluna and 164 toys purchased and wrapped for the indigenous children in Wiluna.
- Supported Jade Lewis and Friends to provide drug education in local Primary Schools.
- Warm clothes and toiletries provided for Anawim Women’s Refuge.
- Provided incubators and a resuscitator for the Children’s Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria.
- A Rotary Foundation Matching Grant provided equipment for a sewing and embroidery livelihood project in Sri Lanka.
- Knitted toys and jumpers distributed to Vietnam, Nigeria, Cambodia, Nepal, Cambodia and Zambia.
- Organised a successful Forum on ‘Asylum Seekers: The Facts’.
- Successfully nominated Justin Hewett to receive an Ambassadorial Scholarship to study a Masters Degree in Chinese Law at Tsinghau University, Beijing.
- Provided two buses for One2One Dental Group and one bus for All Ears Cambodia, along with medical equipment to these two NGOs in Cambodia, via Rotary Foundation Grants.
- 1,000 T shirts sent to Cambodia.
- Held a symposium on Aboriginal health at St John of God Hospital in Subiaco.
Alan presented the club with a Canterbury club pennant and in turn was pleased to accept on behalf of our club, a book on the work of Rotary in Australia.
Di and Keith Collins who are both Past Presidents of Freshwater Bay are currently visiting Canterbury and staying with Alan and Dee for a couple of days when they hope to meet as many of Members of the Rotary Cub of Canterbury as possible.
Picture: An exchange of pennants. Picture Credit: Dee Mepstead/Rotary Club of Canterbury.